In the last decade, there has been a boom in career opportunities in the fitness industry. Here are top 9 career opportunities for fitness enthusiasts. Combine your love for fitness with your career and your work would become your passion!
About two decades ago, when people would think of nutrition and food sciences, very few career options would come to mind. These included the in-house gym dietitian, a nutritionist at a hospital, and a celebrity nutritionist who could help a Hollywood or Bollywood star achieve an eight-pack by choosing the right diet that was required for the role they were playing.
In 2021, things have drastically changed. People have become more aware of what they eat, thanks to television shows like MasterChef, and OTT shows like Game Changers. People even look at sportspersons such as Virat Kohli and Novak Djokovic, who have spoken about how sometimes a plant-based meal has made them fitter and less tired compared to when eating poultry or dairy.
This awareness has opened doors for nutritionists to look at wider options, and even start their own businesses. The good news for everyone is that food and nutrition is no longer a subject that is frowned upon and has become a highly respectable career choice.
Keeping that in mind, let us look at some of the careers we can have with a degree in food science and nutrition.
Top 9 career opportunities in the fitness industry
Organizations such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization are always on the lookout for a nutritionist. Nutritionists here talk of the importance of breastfeeding infants over formula, as a mother’s milk also helps in reducing infant mortality. The nutritionist also works with pregnant women and help them get the best available diet that will benefit both the mother and the developing foetus.
Food service management
You can get a job in a hospital, a school, college/university, and a government facility as an in-house nutritionist. While this career already existed for decades, particularly in schools and colleges, it became a popular choice after former US First Lady Michelle Obama raised concerns about the increase in child obesity that resulted in lifestyle diseases at an early age. So, if you are the type who want to see healthy and happy kids, do consider a role as a food service manager.
As a food safety expert, you have the authority to issue licences to restaurants, food suppliers, and food manufacturers. The food safety inspector’s role is to ensure that the food on our tables is safe for consumption. This is a critical role, as licences are given or revoked depending on the food safety standards. As someone pursuing a career in food science, you will understand the finer nuances of food microbiology, food regulations, and quality control. You will also be taught about the laws and regulations that pertain to food-borne illnesses and safety.
Working with the government
While doing public policy and food safety is a viable career choice, you can also work with the Food and Drug Administration that is governed by your country’s government. In order to take this career path, you are required to have in-depth knowledge regarding dietary guidelines, the government’s food guidelines and regulations, nutrition labelling and claim regulations, the function of food ingredients, as well as nutrition databases. In addition, you will need to have an understanding of applied economics, the government structure, and business principles such as marketing and finance.
Careers in culinary science
If you are a culinary specialist, you can work in a restaurant’s test kitchen and focus on developing new recipes. You can also work at schools and colleges and help develop their menus. If you have a flair for writing about what you eat, then a career option in food journalism is something that you may want to consider – think Matt Preston on MasterChef Australia who is a journalist-turned-food judge.
However, do note that if you want to have a career in culinary science, then you need to have a strong understanding of various cuisines, a palette that is open to experimenting with tastes, and strong communication and problem-solving skills.
As mentioned at the start of the article, there has been a growing demand for students interested in food sustainability. This is done by understanding what we grow locally and consuming that and regrowing it.
Experts in this area serve as resources or consultants to schools, community education programs, farmers markets and other organizations for the development and implementation of farm-to-fork, farm-to-school, community gardening, and other programs. Individuals in this career track need knowledge of food production systems, agriculture policy, organic regulations, basic agronomy and horticulture, and the culinary arts. In addition, students need to have strong communication skills, including oral presentation and technical writing skills.
Health and Wellness
There are many career opportunities for nutrition studies students in the Health and Wellness area. Students may work for health management organizations, health clubs, corporate wellness facilities or in private practice as health coaches or consultants/educators on topics related to nutrition, cooking and health. Individuals in this track should have strong knowledge of nutrition and foods, excellent communication skills and an understanding of diverse perspectives on health and wellness.
Food technologists work closely to research and innovate recipes using both new and existing ingredients. These recipes usually are developed to satisfy a specific condition i.e., low fat, high protein, low sugar or can be something developed for a specific purpose i.e., takeout foods or ready-to-eat meals.
As a food technologist, you must ensure that all your products are acceptable when it comes to quality and safety, and that all legal requirements that are specific to your country (as well as the country you are exporting to) are fulfilled.
If you love a fast-paced industry, then you may want to consider a career as a chef. It is not compulsory to have a food science degree, but it adds value to your understanding of the kitchen. You will begin as a trainee and eventually rise to the top as a head chef of a restaurant. The good thing about this career is that there is a clear progression path and most of the time and hard work really pays off.
As you can see, there is a multitude of career opportunities in the fitness industry. If you are a fitness enthusiast, then you can build a profitable career and follow your passion for fitness simultaneously. At INFS, we provide evidence-based courses and workshops for aspirants like you who want to build a successful career in the fitness world. Our courses have helped numerous students in achieving their dream of a successful career as a fitness coach, yoga instructor and many other successful career fields. You can learn more about our courses here.
Spokesperson: Jyoti Dabas, Founder and CEO, Institute of Nutrition and Fitness Sciences (INFS)
Publication: Hindustan Times